Ranked #2 by the WBC less than 20 fights into his career, Ismayl Sillakh (17-0, 14 KOs) has launched a media campaign to goad Jean Pascal and other marquee fighters at light-heavyweight to face him.
Jean Pascal, who lost the WBC light-heavyweight title in May to Bernard Hopkins, is currently ranked #3 and rejected a mandated showdown with Sillakh on the grounds the fight would be difficult to sell.
Sillakh, who scored a knockout on November 4 against Ali Ismailov, accused Pascal of joining Chad Dawson and Bernard Hopkins as fighters who use politics to avoid him.
“They can’t hide from me forever,” said Sillakh. “Enough excuses. Just get in the ring and fight. We’re fighters.”
“I am the uncrowned champion and these guys at the top are all hoping to avoid me as long as possible before I take over the division. I understand that. But at the end of the day, someone has to step up and say I’m a fighter. I will fight. Pascal, you and I are both young and in our primes. Let’s show the world who is the better man. I will even travel to Canada to make the fight happen.”
Pascal had hoped for a rematch with Chad Dawson, who he defeated for the WBC title in August 2010. However, the WBC’s reversal of Dawson’s October TKO win over Bernard Hopkins to no-decision has left Pascal odd man out while those camps mull a rematch.
Sillakh believes Pascal would lose face as a fighter should he continue forgoing their mandatory bout and face a lesser opponent.
“You’d rather sit on the shelf for two years, or fight lesser opponents than fight me, Jean? I’m talking to you, the fighter,” Sillakh taunted. “I know your team wants to keep you safe, but are you going to man up and take this challenge? We’re fighters. We fight.”
At press time, Jean Pascal could not be reached for comment.